Leasing Apartments: What you Need to Know Before Signing

by : Kinan Beck

"If you are not at the point in your life that you are looking to buy a home or a condo, you are likely looking for a great apartment that you can call home. Once you find a great apartment, however, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you sign a lease and officially accept the apartment as your new residence.

Consider the Location of the Apartment

While the apartment you are considering buying may be absolutely beautiful, you also need to consider its location. Look for an apartment that is near to the right highways, bus lines, or train lines before you commit yourself to living in the apartment for the next several months. The inconveniences of getting to work or participating in special events simply will not be worth it if the apartment is located too far from the routes you need for community.

Read the Lease Carefully and Ask for Changes when Necessary

If the landlord has developed his or her own lease, there may be a few stipulations in it that you are uncomfortable with. Before you sign the lease, ask for these stipulations to be changed. While you likely will not get the landlord to change certain stipulations, such as not allowing pets to live in the apartment, you may be able to get other aspects of the lease changed.

Consider Your Safety

While the apartment may look beautiful and well-kept, there are a few safety issues you should consider before signing a lease. For example, you should ask the landlord to describe the security measures that are in place on the grounds. This may include a parking garage available to those living in the apartment complex, security cameras and more. If the landlord does not already provide security, you might want to add this to your lease to make sure something is provided.

Another safety issue revolves around the maintenance of equipment on the apartment grounds. For example, if the apartment complex has an elevator, you should look into how often it is inspected and you should find out if there is a number you can call if you have problems with the elevator. In addition, you should find out if the landlord provides a guaranteed turnaround time if equipment such as the elevator should fail. After all, it could fail tomorrow and you could find yourself stuck in a lease and walking 20 flights of steps to your apartment every day.

Find Out About Special Services

Some apartment buildings include special services in the cost of rent while others do not. Before you get yourself tied into a lease, find out what services are included. For example, how do tenants dispose of their garbage? Is there an incinerator, are there garbage receptacles throughout the building, is there regular clean up to keep vermin away?

Know Where Your Money Stands

More than likely, you will be asked to pay a security deposit before you can take over the apartment. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms surrounding the security deposit before you sign a lease. Also, be sure to find out when you will get it back after you move. Similarly, if you think you might move out before the terms of your lease are complete, find out if the landlord allows subleasing of the apartment or what will happen if you move out while still paying your rent. Some landlords will allow you to move back in if you vacate the apartment while still paying rent whereas others will seize the apartment, cancel your lease, and impose penalty fees.

For many people, renting an apartment is a wise decision that fits nicely into their lifestyle. Before committing to a lease, however, it is important to take several things into consideration in order to make sure you are properly protected."